The NFL career of Kyler Murray is still young, but he finds himself at a rather interesting crossroads heading into the 2022-23 NFL season. The young Arizona Cardinals quarterback had a disastrous playoff start against the Los Angeles Rams. He then expressed dissatisfaction with his previous contract.
Murray recently got his new, $230.5 million deal, but he still has many questions to answer. Let’s take a deep dive into how he got his new big contract and how it compares to other NFL quarterbacks.
How Kyler Murray negotiated his new contract with the Cardinals
As ESPN reports, when Murray complained about his previous contract this offseason, the Cardinals had no choice but to cave. Murray has had three solid years in Arizona — a franchise that’s rarely seen consistent play from a quarterback over the years.
Murray is the only passer to throw for 70 touchdowns and run for 20 more in his first three years in the league. He’s also the only Cardinals QB to throw for over 3,500 and 20 scores in three consecutive years.
Murray and the team faltered against the Rams this past postseason. But you have to look at that single game in a larger context. The mere fact that Murray led the club to the playoffs represented significant progress. This was a team not far removed from having the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft. Murray played a bigger role than anyone on the roster to get them to the playoffs.
So Murray made noise to get a new deal, and the team relented. So what did they cough up to keep him?
The details of Kyler Murray’s contract
The Cardinals gave Murray a five-year contract extension. The deal is worth $230.5 million overall with $160 million of that guaranteed. This will keep Murray in a Cardinals uniform through the 2028 season, provided he completes the deal.
If Murray does see the end of the contract — never a certainty in the NFL where you’re one injury away from losing your job — he’ll achieve something significant. It would make him the Cardinals quarterback with the second-longest run as a starter. The only player ahead of him at that point would be Jim Hart, the team’s QB from 1966 through 1983.
Where Kyler Murray ranks on the list of highest-paid quarterbacks
Murray’s deal puts him in rarefied air in terms of QB salary. Murray is now the second highest-paid signal caller in the NFL. According to Over the Cap, Murray’s contract is second only to Aaron Rodgers concerning annual value. That puts a lot of pressure on the young player. After a somewhat tumultuous offseason with the team, he has exactly what he wanted. Now, it’s time for him to deliver.
This raises the question of whether Murray truly deserves to be the second highest-paid QB in the NFL. The answer to that is complicated. If you’re asking whether Murray is the second-best QB in football right now … no, he’s not there yet. After a shaky playoff start last season and lots of room for improvement, there are still a decent number of passers who have achieved better results them him since his career began.
But the question isn’t whether Murray is the second-best QB; it’s whether he deserves to have the second-highest contract. The answer for that is simple: players, specifically quarterbacks, get what the market bears. Murray and his representatives were able to use the leverage he had to force this new deal.
The onus is on Murray to deliver now that he got the deal he wanted from the Cardinals.